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Lamb Stuffed Baby Eggplant
Eggplant is considered a fruit, but botanically it’s actually a berry. Related to the potato and tomato, it’s a member of the enigmatic nightshade family. The name eggplant in the United States, Australia and Canada developed from the fact that the fruits of some 18th-century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs. A baby eggplant is simply a genetically smaller version of its larger cousin with the same shiny, purple-black skin and a delicate tender flesh. Typically, it’s a bit sweeter/less bitter and with smaller & fewer seeds. Baby eggplants are more often chosen for stuffing as their size lends itself to a nice, single portion presentation. The recipe below is a prime example.
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- 4 Baby Eggplant
- 3/4 lb. Ground Lamb
- 2 Tbsp. Salvaggio's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic, fresh, minced
- 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup Roma Tomato, seeded, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup Cooked Rice
- 1 tsp. Oregano, dry, crushed
- 1/2 lb. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella (4 - 2 oz. slices)
- 1/4 cup Romano Cheese, grated or shredded
- 1 cup Salvaggio's Vodka Sauce
- Lay eggplant on a flat side and slice a ½ inch piece off the top. With a small scoop, hollow out the eggplant body leaving a ½" wall of flesh.
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic one minute.
- Add red bell pepper and sauté one minute.
- Add lamb and sauté to brown.
- Remove ground lamb mixture to a medium size bowl and add Roma tomato, cooked rice & oregano. Stir to combine and season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Stuff lamb/rice mixture into hollowed out baby eggplant until full.
- Place all four stuffed eggplant in a shallow, oven proof dish. Top each stuffed eggplant with a 2 ounce slice of buffalo mozzarella, then grated Romano cheese.
- Place the eggplants in a 350° F oven and bake approximately 30 minutes.
- Heat vodka sauce to a simmer and serve over baked baby eggplants.
Nino Salvaggio http://www.ninosalvaggio.com/